This was in early May. I almost forgot to attend–even after finishing the book. And I even mentioned something the day before about the meeting! But we were all worried about other things. Fortunately, I remembered. I got there at 11:15 a.m., but by then the discussion was over. Apparently, I was one of only two people who liked the book. Everybody hung around afterward, though, chatting, which was also cool. Some people suggested several other mystery writers that I could read later.
The book was The Merlot Murders, by Ellen Crosby. I was so excited that we would eventually get around to this one. It is the first in a series, and sounded interesting. I read it aloud to my aunt, who enjoyed the rhythm of the writing and my attempts to differentiate the voices of the characters. And I behaved well–not once did I look at the end to find out who committed the murder. I was–and am–so proud of myself for that. It wasn’t easy.
The group really liked the Middleburg, Va., setting and the winemaking industry. They also really liked the grit and determination of the main character, Lucie Montgomery, who has quite a few issues. But they really thought that more character development was in order throughout. Also, nobody cared who ultimately committed the murder. That must be a bad sign to a mystery writer. People often read mysteries to solve the puzzles. For myself, I went far away from where the authors ‘s ideas of plot and solution.
Many people were irritated that Lucie deliberately put herself in harm’s way a lot. I was, too. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to shout at her and others: For God’s sake, stay away from the barrel room!! or whatever situation they found themselves in. But I think it was just part of Lucie’s nature that she would go off by herself and mull things over. There is one scene where Lucie’s cane is broken, and her manager (I forget the technical term in the industry) supplies her with a sturdy golf club as a temporary replacement. Sooner or later, she’s going to have to bash someone in the head, I thought. Sure enough….
All criticism aside, this is a series worth reading–and I don’t care a thing about wine or other forms of alcohol. Crosby recently launched a book in her Sophie Medina series at One More Page Books. Although I couldn’t attend the signing, I hope to be a customer at the store in the near future. Other group members seemed excited about the Sophie Medina series.
Back to reading my latest–a ghost story.